Many tennis parents are having difficulties with their behavior during practice and matches of their child. They are very involved and with their behavior they are not supporting their child, but they are disturbing their child.
I've listed 10 guidelines for tennis parents.
1. Watch your child's match from wherever he/she feels most comfortable having you near the court, from the Clubhouse, or ten miles away.
With matches, your child is the most important, not you. You are just a spectator that tries to enjoy watching the efforts of your child.
2. Do not speak or signal to your child during the match. Simply, it is against the rules. It's important that your child learn to be independent, and to solve his problems on court by himself. Later in life, he also has to solve his own problems.
3. Remain calm during play, whether 'your side' is 5-0 up, or 0-5 down.
Your child is aware of your reactions and finds this disturbing. Even when you say nothing, your body language says enough. When you put your head down with your hands on top, your child recognises immediately your negative body language.
4. Do not rush to your son/daughter at the end of a match to give him/her your in-depth analysis. Win or lose, most players need time for themselves after competing.
Really in-depth analysis is for the coach, but just ask your child after a while if he enjoyed the match.
5. Judge a match based on your child's performance, effort and fair play, not on whether she won or lost. Maybe your child has played the match for the first time with a newly learned serve. Maybe many double faults, but anyway he tried it!
6. Don't let your child practice when he really does not want to, unless your aim is to turn him off tennis...
Always let your child decides, maybe he has an injury you don't know about. Or maybe he has problems at school you don't know about.
7. Encourage your child to be as independent as possible in organising his tennis schedule. Success at tennis requires independent thought and action.
A good preparation for matches gives more chance for a better result.
8. Don't go to every practice session, lesson or match. Your child needs to get used to playing without you around. In this way, your child is learning to be more independent.
Without parents watching, there is also less pressure in the practice.
9. Allow your child and his coach to decide what to do during lessons. Your influence in this specialist area should be minimal. Ask your child about it, and you get a better connection with your child. Keep in touch with the coach when you have questions.
10: You shall reward your child regardless of winning or losing the match.
Rewarding the efforts of your child is very important. It will encourage him to continue his favourite sport and to aim for the next goals.
When you obey all 10 guidelines, you shall be a loved, respected and welcomed tennis parent!